What is Electronic Media Doing to Us?

When asked if overusing electronic devices could be damaging their health, more than half of consumers surveyed for a Two Sides report answered “Yes.” Around the same number felt they spend “too much time” on their devices, while close to one in three feel they are suffering from “digital overload.” Meanwhile, the global consumers electronics industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, expected to reach USD 1,787 billion four years from now, according to Statistica.

It’s clear many of us understand there are health impacts from digital use … but just what are they?

“Too much screen time can indeed affect your health,” explains this article from Two Sides NA. They report the following:

  • Digital eye strain (DES), also known as computer vision syndrome, includes symptoms such as headaches, double vision, blurred distance vision, irritated or burning eyes, dry eyes and tired eyes.  Estimates suggest 50% or more of computer users suffer from at least one of these symptoms while they are looking at a screen.4
  • A study that compared reading on a screen to reading on paper noted that after reading from a smartphone, eye strain symptoms were significantly worse than for the printed hardcopy.5
  • Scientists are wondering how much of the recent and alarming rise in myopia (nearsightedness or difficulty seeing distant objects clearly) is due to too much screen time. If current trends continue, 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.6
  • Researchers have documented the harmful effects of reading from screens on sleep7  and disruption in sleep patterns from using devices an hour before sleep. 8,9 
  • These changes in sleep can have detrimental effects on our well-being and the nationwide impact to long-term brain health is potentially large.10

“The light emitted from electronic devices is enough to disrupt sleep patterns, negatively impacting concentration and brain development,” the article continues. “This is especially important for children where the quality of sleep is necessary for mental development.11

“A recent study conducted by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) shows supporting evidence that a greater-than-average screen time promotes a greater chance of developing attention problems,” it continues. “A correlation between excessive screen time and attention deficiencies is clear.12

All of this leads me to wonder… what’s under the tree this Christmas, especially for the kids. We can regain control around this, both for ourselves and for our kids. It’s time to make 2020 a healthier digital experience for everyone.